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Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest surviving building in Dubai, and originally guarded the landward approaches to the early settlement at Dubai Creek. The fort was constructed in several phases. The earliest tower dates to 1787, with building techniques utilising locally sourced coral and shell rubble, cemented together with lime. Major expansion work was carried out from the 1830s to 1850s under the rule of Shaikh Maktoum Bin Butti, when the fort was used as the administrative centre and royal residence, as well as a prison and a military arsenal.

Between 1969 and 1971, Dubai Municipality carried out significant restoration work to convert the structure into the Dubai Museum. In 1995 the museum was expanded by the addition of large underground gallery spaces extending from the south west tower under the central square.

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